The festival of “Navarathri” is about to begin in South India. This comes at the ascendence of moon in the month of Purattasi. This year, Mahalaya Amavasai is on 12th Oct 2015. Navarathri and Sri Vedavalli thayar purappadu will be from 14.10.2015 only.
The festivities are to Goddesses Durga, Maha Lakshmi and Saraswathi. It is customary in Southern States to keep a display known as ‘bommai Golu” (display of dolls) in most houses. This is an ornate exhibition of various dolls and figurines of Gods, National Leaders, Fruits, Vegetables, Animals etc., Traditionally the dolls used to be made of earthern soil, now a days many are of paper. The dolls are carefully kept packed throughout the year and are displayed during these nine days of “Navarathri”. Every day, people invite their near and dear. People visit the houses of Relatives, neighbours and friends for seeing the Bommai Golu and for exchanging pleasantries. Gifts are also given to visitors.
Each day, offerings including various types of sundal are made to the dolls. The 9th day is devoted to Saraswathi, the Goddess of Learning and special poojas are offered to Goddess Saraswati - the divine source of wisdom and enlightenment. Books, pens, education oriented things and musical instruments are placed in the puja and worshipped as a source of knowledge. Also, tools are placed in the pooja as part of "Ayudha Pooja". Vehicles are washed and decorated, and puja is performed for them. Most shop keepers also clean their shops, have them white washed and conduct pooja praying for their well being.
The 10th day, "Vijayadasami" – is considered to be the most auspicious day of all. It is the day of evil being destroyed by good. It marks a new and prosperous beginning. New ventures started on this day are believed to flourish and bring prosperity. Many have the initiation of education for their children on this auspicious day. This year Saraswathi Pooja is on 22.10 and Vijayadasami on 23.10 going by the celebrations at Thiruvallikkeni Sri Parthasarathi temple.
The mood is one of festivity and bonhomie. Many shops have sprung up in Triplicane and Mylapore – mostly they are dolls made of mud and of paper mache … here are photos of dolls taken at Triplicane Rukmini mini hall display and on the Mada street of Mylapore.
Regards – Srinivasan Sampathkumar.
10th Oct 2015